tv The Cycle MSNBC October 15, 2013 3:00pm-4:00pm EDT
door number three, john boehner. which door will we choose? with two days until the debt ceiling, the wheeling and dealing is showing some signs of progress in this game of chic n chicken. >> i'm confident we'll reach a comprehensive agreement this week. >> we're talking with our members on both sides of the aisle to try to find a way to move forward today. >> republicans want to in the house of representatives sabotage the bipartisan effort and that will hit our economy hard. >> i'm glad to see harry reid and the senate has begun to talk with the republican leader there and we encourage that. >> let the house work its will. let the representatives vote. >> we think individuals should be treated fairly and big business should not have special treatment and members of congress should not have special treatment. >> what we are experiencing at this time is a tremendous effort on the part of the republicans
in the house to once again under cut the american people. >> this is a time for solutions and they need to be based upon fairness for all. >> somebody in the house republican caucus has to grab the wheel and hit the brakes. >> there are two deals circulating, first the senate, to reopen the government through january 15th, the exact date the next round of sequester cuts kicks in. extend the debt ceiling until february 7th and create a budget negotiation framework by mid december. obama care could be involved with a delay to the reinsurance fees employers pay and efforts to strengthen laws if your income level qualifies you for a subsidy. then there's the house gop plan, the same dates on the debt ceiling and short term budget but would stop future efforts by the treasury to extend the debt limit. house republicans want a two-year delay to the medical device tax and to eliminate all obama care protections for labor
unions and subsidies for elected officials in washington. no matter which door we choose, looks like we'll be back in needless crisis plan by the new year. we start with peter alexander at the white house and luke russert on the hill. they are about to bring the house democratic leaders into the oval office. what do you think the message will be? >> reporter: i hope you give me points for the cliches let's see how many i can hit. working they are on the same page that their ducks are in the row and another one, that they are trying to shore up support. that's a very -- they could walk it back, it's unlikely. it's all about lining it up. this is all about maintaining that sort of unified efforts the democrats have had throughout the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis. obviously the republicans have struggled with that internal battle between the tea party bloc and more moderate republicans. this is what the white house is
hoping to make sure that whenever anything does come out of the senator potentially out of the house later that everybody as we noted on the same page with that. we're heading toward this deadline. in fact jay carney during the press briefing said we have already passed the deadline in terms of uncertainty saying the time is of the essence. i'm speaking to an economist a short time ago who put this in good terms as people try to get a better grasp of the date. kind of like driving a car on empty into the desert where you pass the last gas station. your car is not going to explode immediately. but you don't know when the next gas station may exist and wherever you're going isn't a very good thing. >> i'll turn this car right around. i'll turn this car right around. >> i counted eight, peter. >> let's see if luke can do better. we did hear a lot from house republicans on fairness for all. wouldn't it be easier if the bill originates in the house?
>> reporter: it's easier in it originates in the house because then it stops one of the parliamentary procedures that ted cruz could use to delay it. it's a good vehicle. let's take a step back and tell you where we are today. so the senate deal that we had been talking about between mcconnell, which has never filed, details were leaked out, that was overwhelmingly rejected by the house gop in their conference. one member said to me it was a ka ka sandwich, you know the real terminology there. after that happened and forward their own bill, which was also dismissed because real ultraconservatives within the house gop conference did not december lidislike the fact it took away the employer pay-ins and subsidies for president and vmt and cabinet, they wanted it to extend to staff. after that meeting, boehner had to go out and say, we don't know
what we're going to do precisely, we have to put something on the floor tonight. we don't know what it's going to look like. >> they are behind closed doors right now trying to make this bill more conservative to try to attract the amount of republicans they would need to get out of the house. while that's happening, mitch mcconnell has said to harry reid, we're not going to negotiate, i want to see what's coming out of the house of representatives. what boehner has done in the house gop conference has done, delayed the talks that were seemingly going very well between reid and mcconnell to see what the house can produce. from conversations i've had with members, it's really, real tough sledding to use a cliche for them to get to 218 on this bill, whatever it might look like. the more conservative it gets, the more it will be dismissed by reid. on your point, it makes it easier in the sense that boehner and the house gop can pass this bill over to the senate, reid in theory could amend it, striking out things he doesn't like and
keeping things they could agree on, on which there is some in there and move it forward. as we get towards the october 17th deadline, this creates a huge issue if the markets react negativively and on top of that, there are folks in the house gop that don't think october 17th is that bad. if the markets react negativively, they'll yank this and pass something out really quickly. if the markets are kind of like, we think you're going to do something, then you'll see this battle gone on through thursday and it's anyone's idea as to how this ends up, guys. >> there's a lot that i don't understand about what's going on in the republican caucus right now, but the session with stripping their own staffers of health care is particularly bizarre to me. >> people who make $29,000 a year answering phones and for whatever reason -- >> people that work for them. >> political pawns, that's what it is. they are political pawns now. on the step of a default and
government being shut down for over two weeks. only in america, folks. >> peter and luke, thank you both. >> i want to bring in howard fineman. i would love for you to weigh in on the reporting we've heard from luke. it sounds like the senate deal is not at all acceptable to the house republicans, even the plan from the house republicans is not acceptable to the far reaches of the house republicans. how do you see this all coming together? >> well, actually they are not very far apart. they are agonizingly close. but the problem is, the sort of psychological dynamics almost of this. just as nothing that barack obama, the president of the united states would propose could possibly be acceptable to the tea party wing in the house, so too anything that the senate comes up with, even including anything the senate comes up
where mitch mcconnell is in concert with harry reid. that by definition is unacceptable to house republicans, many of them. what they are looking for now and trying to throw the staff members under the bus and labor union language and language about you can't try any tricks at the treasury department in the future, all of that stuff is designed to prevent them agreeing when in fact the two sides in many respects are very close. the republicans basically -- the tea party has already lost essentially on obama care. the whole game here was to try to seriously delay or defund obama care. it was a wrong headed and disastrous strategy on their part. they've lost that. so they are still looking and still down on basement meeting in the basement trying to figure some way to reject whatever comes out of the senate. that is sort of the dangerous and unfortunate psychology we're in the middle of here. >> howard, you mentioned throwing staffers under the bus.
i hope they don't get hurt in that bus clash because they would need health care. >> i wanted to try to add to the sum total of cliches. >> you did. >> we bring it hard with cliches, you know that about that. i want to ask beyond the details of these bills that we are looking at closely as you get down to the wire, if you take a step back and you put aside the fact that in my opinion there's been an unethical type of government leadership here from some members of the house, if they do get a deal, that tweaks federal law and only wounds the debt ceiling a couple of months away, doesn't that risk rewarding blackmail and at a certain point rewarding irresponsible behavior is irresponsible behavior? >> everybody keeps talking about this as though it were a lesson in kind garten or parenting. i agree with that theory up to a
point. but when does it become a victory that you drive the republicans approval numbers down to the single digits and at the same time you have to witness a default of the u.s. government and a potential worldwide economic crisis? i mean -- i don't know what lessons the republicans are going to learn. from what i can tell, the republicans have already -- the tea party has already decided and in many ways our government here in washington has already become a series of so-called manufactured crises. i don't see that changing. i think this is the new normal. this is the cliche alert, it's -- i think it's the way things are going to operate now. and i know we're over at the house, i heard them say, we're going to break their will, meaning the republicans, the break the will of the tea party. they are not going to break the will of the tea party. the tea party believes in rejecting and gumming up the
works as much as possible. that's part of their whole ethic. rather than look at this as some sort of teaching moment, it's time to look at it as a moment to get a deal. >> it's frightening. >> that's right, that they have shut the government down. they have very little to show for it. certainly nothing substantive. >> nothing substantive to take home and say look what we got for shutting the government down. but their folks are happy with what they have done and want them to go further. all of these talk about gop numbers and sinking super low, their folks are happy with what they've done. most of these folks who oppose this -- led this thing will return to congress after their next election. so it makes me say they are going to do this again. as you talk about, this is the new normal. this era of brinksmanship. how do we get beyond this into something more substantive, governing that is worth while? the tea party can have their opposition, but this way of doing it is completely ineffective, not just for america but the entire globe.
>> right and especially as you were pointing out, even if they reach an agreement now, this is going to happen again right after the new year. i think part of the impetus is that the business community which doesn't have the effect it had, but common sense says you don't want this situation going on during the holiday season. you don't want it going on entering thanksgiving and christmas when many businesses make a lot of money for the whole year. we're going to kind of put it on hold until after the first of the year. tour'e, i don't know the answer to your question. i've been thinking about it a lot and writing about it a fair amount at the huffington post. i think the nature of our society has become more confrontational and dramatic and that's where we are. i don't know if these so-called regular order of the congress will ever return. i just don't know how. i wish i had an answer for you. >> it's so sad for the upcoming generation. but howard, i find harry reid and mitch mcconnell's relationship pretty fascinating. here they are yesterday
complimenting each other. let's listen. >> i'm very optimistic we will reach an agreement that's reasonable in nature this week. >> i share his optimism that we're going to get a result that will be acceptable to both sides. >> as we know, at any sort of crisis situation, when every other option has fallen to pieces, unlikely duos come together and find common ground in order to fix things. we saw that with president obama and chris christie after sandy hit much to the chagrin of many rpz. now we're seeing this with reid and mcconnell. despite what many described as a bitter and distant relationship, i want your thoughts on the relationship and do you think it will be up to these two in terms of coming down with what can pull us out of this mess? >> abby, it's all well and good to see harry reid and mitch mcconnell as much as they dislike each other to work out a deal in the senate. that doesn't count in the house. as a matter of fact, every time the tea party people see mitch
mcconnell going into a room with harry reid, it stiffens the tea party's resolve to oppose it. don't forget mitch mcconnell has a tea party challenger down in kentucky. don't forget ted cruz who doesn't view himself as bound by one chamber of the congress, let alone the whole country, is busy making trouble with the house republicans, meeting with them in a restaurant telling them to resist. and that's the situation we're in right now. and we don't have much time to do much about it. >> not a lot of optimism. >> depressed me thoroughly, howard because you're exactly right. thank you so much for a great analysis. dems are continuing to arrive at the white house for the meeting with the president. you got to admit they have looked pretty united through this whole thing. republicans on the other hand, that's another story. we'll spin as "the cycle" rolls on.
♪ hit me with your best shot >> in the spin, apparently the republicans best shot wasn't good enough to take down obama care. now with nearly 3/4 of americans disapproving of the way the gop is handling the debt fight, you have to wonder, when do they throw in the towel? and when they do and the deal is settled between senate leaders, will the speaker of the house be able to sell it to the rauk us caucus? he might not even get the chance because senator ted cruz let it slip he's still debating an attempt to delay any such deal. who exactly is he debating with? probably nobody but that never stopped him before. the focus has shifted almost
fully to the debt limit. instead of the issue republicans started this entire thing over, obama care. >> let me ask you a question and you can be honest and frank with me. how many of you are only here because you had some trouble signing up for obama care and instead you got tickets to the show? how many of you -- >> see for republicans that should be the headline, the obama carrollout has been a mess. the numbers are shockingly low and the white house doesn't have a solution at this point. instead all we're talking about is the craziness of tea party republicans. this is a real blown opportunity and i would argue they deserve every bit of backlash. all they had to do is nothing at all for the american people to see the glitchy, problematic rollout of obama care so far. i tried to put myself in speaker
boehner's shoes to be honest, i would rather walk over my feet every day walking home from work to have that happen, to be in his position. but if i were him i would tell my caucus it's in your best interest to end the government shutdown as soon as possible so the headlines will shift from the gop holding the government hostage to obama care is a complete disaster. i don't even have to tell you guys, 5,000 enroll ees in 36 states are using the federal exchange program. yet we're barely talking about this because it's been completely overshadowed by the narrative of the shutdown. it reminds me of one of my favorite movies, how to lose a guy in ten days, she does everything she possibly can -- >> love that movie. so charming. >> she is winning. >> she is good in that one. the title i would give it, how to lose all credibility and embarrass the party in 21 takes. it's been 21 days when cruz had
his marathon speech against obama care. all of this nonsense is overshad lowing. in the end they want absolutely nothing and shoot themselves in the foot. >> the reason why boehner can't easily advocate, the reason why it doesn't completely ruin the republican party, they are not doing this alone. they've been demagoguing against obama care for three solid years and they can't just step aside at the last second and then let obama care fall on its own face. even still, even now, the folks at home are calling and saying, this is what we want, good job. good further. don't give up. this is not far enough for them. so as long as you have that sort of alternate universe for folks getting fake news and pushing lawmakers to do things and giving ted cruz their straw poll by a large margin, there's another alternate universe that looks at this in an entirely different way. >> i think we have to stopped deluding ourselves to think we
with reason or rationalize -- >> you mean me or members of -- >> everybody in the country needs to give up on these folks. they do not respond to normal logic. they were sent there to be come kaz zis, no poll number is going to change that. from the beginning, this has been within john boehner's control, to short circuit the xris sis, i hear this thing he can't pass anything with democratic support then he's afraid of losing his speaker's gavel. first of all, i don't believe that. second of all, here's an idea. ness this is kinds of outside of historic numbers, there's no reason democrats cannot pledge support to john boehner for speaker if republicans keep control of the house in 2014. if you save the country and don't allow us to default, we will support over whatever tea
party idiot runs against you for speaker if that's really the problem for them, let's short circuit it. >> that's a novel idea. people need to understand this is not just a government shutdown, it is a democracy shutdown. you tune in now as krystal just i will lus dated, there are votes on the house floor. there's a majority in both houses of congress to avoid the self-inflicted political default. the only reason we're not doing it because the house does not function as a democracy. a lot of people around the country are tuning into it. the other number i want to leave people with, is 66. that's the number of republicans quh who opposed the last debt ceiling hike. there's 66 republicans who are already lost, they voted against this last time even when they got a huge compromise offer from the president, that was the time
he said i'm not doing that again, not negotiating with you with an economic gun to my head. some of these people are gone. when we have this final vote, a bunch of them aren't going to be with you. what kind of deal do you make where you give people things and they still vote against you? that's the point we've been discussing, there's a democracy problem and irresponsibility when you encourage these people. this vote in the end whether we get it thursday or in the tenth inning, it's going to have republicans voting against it. we shouldn't give them anything. >> you're talking about individuals who have total control. it's frightening and the conversation sadly will continue. up next, polling i wish had been around when my dad was running in the primary, rational conservative is actually popular now. ted cruz, thank you for that one. has it's ups and downs.
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. ♪ >> that 1972 classic holds true today, apparently you have to leave the beltway to recognize it, ari. a brand-new nbc news/esquire survey, half of americans describe themselves as being in the middle, being moderate. our survey identified eight different groups ranging from far left to far right. the mini van moderates and right out right to name a view. this is almost evenly split between republicans and democrats and independence and they are pessimistic about both the economy and state of american politics. let's bring a man who never had a pessimistic thought ever, even when he's dreaming, mark murray. interesting stuff here, this center group you identify, they are pro gay marriage, pro marijuana and pro minimum wage hike and anti-affirmative action and pro death penalty.
interesting amall gamation of views there. i want to push back on the whole idea there's a robust model deciding elections. steve cornacki, there are no swing voters we are more hyper partisan than ever. elections are increasingly won by turning out folks on the edges, not pandering or sliding towards the middle. if there is a middle, they are not deciding elections anymore. what am i missing? >> it's how you define the middle and how you define the different polls. this breaks it up into eight different groups gives a good routine. there isn't the myth cal swing voter we're hoping for in illinois or in wisconsin. but what was really instructive here is when somebody like me who followed the president obama's campaign and followed the mitt romney campaign, when
you look at the eight different groups and realize you end up having partisans on both sides, righteous right versus the gospel left and bleeding heart versus talk radio heads and then you have the mini van moderates and people like in mba middle. it was interesting how the obama campaign talked to these different groups. for example, president obama's pitch when he was talking about contraception, talking about abortion rights, he was speaking to mini van moderates, a group that he ended up winning a 66-33 margin. when he was talking about fairness and economic fairness, he was really hitting at these pickup populists in the middle. people who are kind of sometimes from more rural areas and people who might evenly have a high school education. when he was talking about the need for -- talking about being liberal on social issues but then, hey, still need fairness when it comes to the economy, that was the mba middle.
what was fascinating, that should have been an area that mitt romney should have cleaned up in the 2012 election. it split 49/49 between obama and romney. so president obama either won on tied in all of these middle groups and that's explains who won in 2012 sfwl that's a great point, really interesting change we've seen. i disagree with tour'e on this because i argue that this group is so relevant that you look at the gop that has lost the popular vote since 1988 other than one time because they have not attracted enough of these people. there were two things i took away from this, you said this, the group wants fairness and two, that this irrational litmus test tone coming out of the republican party is not appealing at all to these folks. shouldn't this be pretty concerning for the republican party as they look forward in terms of their prospects? shouldn't they say, we need to attract these folks if we want to win again? >> i think so. you can use this survey to look and say that the righteous right
and talk radio heads are the base and driving almost all of the actions the republican party right now and making it sometimes harder talking about issues like gay marriage we were talking about earlier, you make it harder to win over people in the mini van moderates or even the mba middle, this is liberal on social issues than economic ones. sometimes catering to one of those -- to that base makes it harder. one of the problems the republican party has, they don't have a leader to set the tone. it's much easier when you control the white house to be able to explain to your base, here's what we're for and here's what we're against, right now it does seem that the talk radio folks, as well as the righteous right are driving the republican party and making it harder to hit the middle groups. >> to that point, one of the things you asked people in the middle was, who is the person they most admire? and 18% named democratic figures, only 13% named
republican political figures. and within those numbers, there was only one republican leader current leader who got more than one percent and that was chris christie. >> that shows you how hard it is when you are out of the white house and don't have a leader that everyone looks to and all of a sudden you have competing voices. if the republicans today held the white house, you would not be hearing as much about ted cruz as you're hearing today. there's a big vacuum and it allows people to fill that. i think that leadership, the next time the republicans win the white house, 2016 or 2020, it will be easier to say, here's what we're for and here's what we're against. that's one of the reasons why there's so much democratic unity than republican unity. >> mark, i don't want to make you nervous pointing out one small error in the piece on tv, but you had the category as mini van moderate. you were missing one, liberation
front groups like tour'e. i don't know the numbers but he exists. >> i think he's perfect in the bleeding heart category. >> i took the he esquire, i'm bleeding heart but that means i care. mark murray, you will always be in the center of our heart. thank you. a test of leadership, the president is meeting with democrats as we speak, what can all involved learn from president grant ulysses? take a look at these negotiating skills. >> you're playing let's make a deal. door number one me getting in front of the press corps and telling them you or chess traited a cover-up, becausal i wanted to do is tell the truth. behind door number two, me giving you what you want and telling the press corps i'm sorry to sleep with janine lock. >> sir, i told you, there's no
way we can make them do anything. >> it's a simple choice, door number one, i tell the truth and both of us get kicked out of the white house. number two, i admit to the geneva fair and jake gets released. >> how presidential are my balls now -- [ male announcer ] if you're a rinse user, you may have heard there's a new rinse that talks about protecting, even after eating and drinking. crest pro-health has always done that. it's clinically proven to fight plaque and gingivitis.
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war as president lincoln and general in chief. we think shutdown passions are intense. here to put it in historical context, author of ulysses s. grant, michael is also the former editor and chief of simon and shuster and joins us at the table. let's start with that. any lessons that we should take from ulysses s. grant skill as a negotiator for today's crisis? >> i think so. ulysses s. grant pursued the path directly, he never veered from it. when he was a child he was remarkable because he would never retrace his steps. so if he was going in one direction, he would never back up. he would always go forward. and as a negotiator, he was very much the same kind of personality. in a very polite but firm way he stuck to what he believed.
>> we could probably use him today. it would be nice if we more applicatio politicians like that. you talk about the action on the battle field helped and crippled him in the white house. you would think they would help each other, if you're a good commander in field, you would be a good commander in chief. >> i don't think that's necessarily true. battlefield success is not necessary a guarantee for true success as a president. actually i think grant is a better president than he's given credit for. he kept us out of two wars that everybody was keen to fight, both with great britain, because he believed very firmly, like most experienced generals that peace is better and wore is terrible. but above all, grant's underlying personality was to
patiently move forward day by day towards the goal that you want to achieve. he was an enormously interesting man. i don't know what he would have made of today's financial crisis because he was terrible with money himself. mark twain said when it came to financial matters he was as naive as a baby. >> how much do you think he was defined by his age? because we hear about presidents only be able to excel within the context of their time and contrast that to the gridlock today. >> we probably think of him as old because the portrait of him on the $50 bill. he was quite a young man when he entered the white house and one of the few to have done two terms successfully. i think grant's energy was phenomenal at war, not so great in the white house. >> michael, interesting insights, thank you for your time. >> thank you for having me. up next, one of the most critical people in the criminal
justice system has been furloughed and you've never heard of him likely. ari explains next. before they sat down, one more time, just for themselves. before the last grandchild. before the first grandchild. smile. before katie, debbie, kevin and brad... there was a connection that started it all and made the future the wonderful thing it turned out to be... at bank of america, we know we're not the center of your life, but we'll do our best to help you connect to what is. it guides you to a number that will change it guides you to a number your life: your sleep number setting. it even knows you by name. now it's easier than ever to experience deep, restful sleep with the sleep number bed's dualair technology. at the touch of a button, the sleep number bed adjusts to each person's ideal comfort and support. and you'll only find it at a sleep number store.
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♪ visit floodsmart.gov/pretend to learn your risk. life with crohn's disease ois a daily game of "what if's". what if my abdominal pain and cramps end our night before it even starts? what if i eat the wrong thing? what if? what if i suddenly have to go? what if? but what if the most important question is the one you're not asking? what if the underlying cause of your symptoms is damaging inflammation? for help getting the answers you need, talk to your doctor and visit crohnsandcolitisadvocates.com to connect with a patient advocate from abbvie for one-to-one support and education. the new cycle begins with an accused terrorist on u.s. soil, anas al libi is back in new york facing arraignment for the u.s.
bombings in kenya and tanzania. he's back on dry land and apparently suffering from a terrible case of hepatitis c and needed medical attention. at least 200 people were killed in the embassy attacks. >> a poignant ceremony at the white house for the newest medal of honor recipient, army captain william swenson. five americans were killed in the fight where swenson risked his life to recover the fallen and save others from death. >> will swenson was there for his brothers. he was there for their families. as a nation we thank god that patriots like him are there for us all. >> the u.s. supreme court is hearing arguments today in a case whether michigan's voters
have the right -- the outcome could impact similar anti-affirmative action bans passed by arizona and washington state. that news from the high courts leads to the special series presumed guilty as the government shutdown continues, one of the most pivotal officials is on furlough, the pardon -- >> this president is the most micingly partner of any modern president. >> the numbers back that up, barack obama has the lowest clem entcy rate in modern history. bill clinton had pardoned one in every eight applicants and george w. bush, 1 in every 33 and president obama just one in every 50. why does the pardon power matter? the constitution empowers the president to decide when the interest of justice are served by overturning a conviction or
shortening an unfair prison sentence. beyond individual mistakes in the courtroom, one of the most compelling reasons to use the pardon power is to release americans serving prison terms for activities that the law would punish differently today. a prime example, the shifting approach to the war on drugs. the justice department is no longer seeking harsh penalties for some nonviolent drug users. it has yet to apply the same logic to inmates serving time right now for those same offenses. >> the other end, the executive himself has discretion under the pardon power and i think there's a correlating imperative to use it at both ends. >> mark osler at saint thomas university in minnesota. >> we have people serving time, over 5,000 people serving time under harsh crack laws that have now been undone by congress. >> back with us to explore the moral question michael xol
scolnik and president of global grime.com. thank you for being here. you supported the president and re-election, what do you make of the moral character on this issue? >> we've been big supporters of the president but the president is still on the gate on this issue. in the first term of his administration he has been focused as we see here on much bigger pieces of policy. i think he let this one go. i think we've seen a major shift in the president, not just his talk but action in the last six months. we wrote a letter urging him not just ending the war on drugs but first the pardoning. not just for more pardons but the 5,000 people still locked up under the crack powder disparties. >> we're talking about the war on drugs and what we do with nonviolent drug offenders.
but they have moved to war on drug reform. how do we get to substantive reform for millions of individuals locked up for nonviolent crimes? >> i think tour'e, the one thing to remember, the pardoning office, we can't fix 35 years of horrible drug policy. what it can do, it to those ind have served far too long sentences and no threat to society. if we are to break this war on drugs, to me, the domino that must fall is mandatory minimum sentencing. and certainly the attorney general has hinted that he wants to end this, and folks in the senate, senator durbin and rand, have shown they want to end this, as well. that is the piece of -- the tool that the law enforcement and that the courts have used to pack the prisons, is by threatening these young men with these horrible sentences, and they plea out. 93% of drug offenses in this country plea out. and now we have 2.2 million folks in prison. >> republicans like mike lee and rand paul are on the right side of this issue. >> interesting. a big fear, though, you let someone out and then they go and they commit a heinous crime.
you have the backlash of i told you so. what did you expect? and obviously, here we're talking about nonviolent drug offenders. and, you know, the idea that you let 5,000 people go, the odds are that at least one of them will commit a crime. so talk to us about how this -- this plays into this conversation. >> i think, actually -- possibly obama's greater fear than that is the politicalization of the pardoning office in the past. i think if you look at what's happened with mark rich, scooter libby, even richard nixon. i think this administration has shown their white house is not for sale. and they're afraid that if they are to not just let out someone who might have committed another crime, but let someone out for a political reason or because of privilege. most people who get out who are pardoned or get commuteded are white. >> michael, you mentioned that issue of being pardoned and the disparity. you're almost four times more likely to get pardoned historically as a white inmate than as an african-american inmate. incredible disparity. on top of that, you mentioned
the louis libby pardon. and the "new york times" was reporting this weekend about how in the limo ride to the inauguration, bush was advising obama, you've got to fix this, you've got to get a good program up and yet the president has held on to the same pardon attorney. he hasn't even put in his own person to take a different stand. >> ronald rodgers was appointed by bush at the end of the bush's term. i believe he should be replaced. i think that's part of the issue. what is becoming before the president's desk, what is he seeing, how many applications is he seeing for pardons. we have to not just address this one issue of pardons, but the war on drugs has to be a central part of the president's second term. >> part of the problem, prison itself makes people be better criminals. so we have to stop sending so many people to prison. >> right. i think that's also where it hits on the recidivism. a good concern. but you have to figure out how to harm onnize this so you're not locking away people forever. we're out of time.
>> for my republican friends, a lot of republican friends support this across the country. >> some -- rand paul is leading this movement. >> so this a bipartisan issue and we can get this done. >> michael skolnick, thank you. action on the issue will require a lot more public engagement, including republicans. so come to our facebook page, whatever your party, to learn more and you can post comments, we'll answer questions. you can also engage on twitter at the hash tag, presumed guilty. up next, krystal has an inspiring pep talk for john boehner. well, sort. [ male announcer ] this is pam. her busy saturday begins with back pain, when... hey pam, you should take advil. why? you can take four advil for all day relief. so i should give up my two aleve for more pills with advil? you're joking right? for my back pain, i want my aleve.
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hey, john boehner. how is your day going? not so great? oh, really. mine isn't going so great either. now that i think of it, a lot of people across the country aren't having the best week like government workerers not getting paid, retirees terrified their social security checks aren't going out next week, the mom who don't have formula for their babies. but i get it, this is a tough final for you. john, i've heard this line before about ted cruz and justin and the tea party caucus and how your hands are tied. it's time to take personal responsibility. after all, you use the tea partiers to win the speakership. you enabled them, gave them power, told them their cause was just, noble, patriotic. what did you expect? they're behaving in exactly the renegade and destructive way they promised voters they would. you can't be surprised they were promised a pound of flesh and now they have come for it.
really, that's all water under the bridge, john. let's deal with the present. you could have passed a clean, continuing resolution at sequester levels, a major win for republicans, but you didn't want to upset the tea partiers. they wanted their government shut down and so you gave it to them. thank you that, john. thinking i suppose that maybe once they saw the gop numbers tank and felt the wrath of constituents, they would come to their senses and you could write in, saving both your caucus and the country from the tea partiers you enabled. did you think that would work? you were dealing with zealots, kamikazes in a sign that the hour of their political martyrdom is close at hand. they want the confrontation. they want to go out in a blaze of glory. andner never going to love you, john. so now the president and the senate have agreed on a deal. it's not a great deal for the country. but at least averts the current crisis. and once again, it all comes down to you. you, john, not the tea party,
not ted cruz, you. just like it always has. you wanted power and boy, do you have it. you could end this crisis today. just as you could have ended it from the beginning, just as you could have averted it before it even started. some say that you're terrified of losing your speakership. after all, you only won the gavel this time by six votes. well, you nooet need to think long and hard about what you're doing to the country in order to keep your grip on a gavel that has brought you attention, sure, but it seems like a lot more misery, let alone what it's doing to the country. this is your moment, john. it is time to decide who you want to be when you grow up. will you choose to be a great man? you have that chance. or will you choose to be the pawn of the tea party destroying the country that you love so deeply, it makes you weep. you wanted the power, you won the power, now figure out what you want to do with it. and remember, there's no crying in politics, right? >> aww. >> all right.